William J. Gabonay, of Yukon, Pennsylvania, was born on September 1, 1916. He was the son of Celestina M. DeSocio Gabonay.
William served in the 565th Bomber Squadron, 389th Bomb Group, as a Sergeant and Mechanic/Gunner on the B-24 #42-100421 'Aphrodite's Disciples' during World War II.
On March 5, 1944, the crew took off from Station 114 airfield in Hethel, England, on a mission to bomb the Bergerac, Cognac, and Mont de Marsan airfields in France. At around 11:30 AM, their plane was shot down by fighters setting the no. 1 engine and a wing on fire. The crew evacuated the airplane at 17,000 feet, and all members survived except for SSgt D'Amore, whose parachute did not open or was killed during an escape attempt. Through the help of the French network, Sgt Gabonay was able to evade German capture and return to England on May 21, 1944, via Pyrenees/Spain/Gibraltar.
Sgt Gabonay died on February 24, 1991, at the age of 74. He is now buried in the Westmoreland County Memorial Park, Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA.
Source of information: www.findagrave.com, francecrashes39-45.net